Companies that provide a service differ in two main aspects –they either treat a client like a one-time business opportunity or they take the trouble to build a meaningful relationship with them. When you create a trustworthy and mutually beneficial relationship with clients, you are likely to have a higher conversion rate. They are also more likely to provide word-of-mouth referrals, which are essential for a successful business.
A strong customer relationship drives sales, growth and sustainability in today's tumultuous economy. Only companies that build and maintain excellent customer and client relationships can succeed. Here are five tips to build strong and long-lasting relationships with clients.
1. Engage your customers
A successful relationship is a two-way street. Most loyal customers want to be dynamically involved in it. If a client is limiting his or her involvement with your company, it probably signals that the relationship is reaching its end. It is important to make your customers feel empowered and engaged; you must be willing to hear their ideas. This will also help build rapport and give you both an idea about how you operate. Having a proactive engagement with your customers could mean they have all the support they need – before they even ask.
2. Open and effective communication
Every chance you get to interact with a customer is an opportunity to focus on building long-term relationships. It is important that your communication with your client is personal and relevant to the customer, because that is often all a customer really needs. While multiple communication channels such as email, social media or text messaging are available, make sure the channel you use is relevant to your customers – it should be easy for them to use and should ideally involve as little effort as possible.
3. Be confident
It is important to display confidence while managing client relationships. You must be able to communicate to your client that not only are you able to do jobs within your capability, you are also willing to work a little harder to do those a bit beyond your scope in order to maintain the relationship. Your client will appreciate this, and your value for them will increase substantially. However, if a client asks you to do a job that is far beyond your capabilities or even the agreed scope of work, you must be able to reasonably decline the request. Building a relationship is about negotiating to reach a mutually favourable conclusion.
Besides, when you don’t overpromise, it builds credibility with your client. So, learn to say no.
4. Be customer-centric
In his book Customer Centricity: Focus on the Right Customers for Strategic Advantage, Peter Fader describes customer-centricity as when a company/brand identifies the most valuable customers and surrounds them with relevant products and services. According to him, customer-centricity creates opportunities after a company has understood the customer. It allows the company to create better customer experiences, which translates into better relationships.
5. Respond promptly
Finally, it is essential that you are available for your clients. Respond promptly and politely to client queries. When you commit to a job, make sure you deliver it on time – or let your client know well ahead if you are unable to do so, explaining the reason for the delay. This will build trust and credibility. Regular updates on projects will also ensure smooth progress and eliminate any potential misunderstandings.
Trustworthy client relationships are built over time. But they are well worth nurturing.